Signs and Symptoms of Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Dr. Cs office was uncharacteristically empty, and the receptionist, munching on her sandwich, told me to go right back. Dr. C. tapped on the door before I could fully disrobe and asked me stand while she studied both breasts carefully, then motioned for me to lie down for an exam. I winced as she probed and prodded.
Im not sure what this is, but I want you to go right over to the breast center, she said. Well set it up so they take you right away.
I remained there for the rest of the afternoon, suffered through two mammograms, an ultrasound, then was told to come back the next day for a biopsy. No one would confirm or deny my fears.
As soon as I got home, I Googled IBC.
What I learned provided no comfort: IBC is a rare cancer that develops rapidly and spreads from its origin to nearby tissue, generally the lymph nodes. By the time the cancer is discovered, its considered locally advanced and classified either State IIIB or Stage IV. Treatment includes chemotherapy, followed by a mastectomy and radiation.
I checked off many of the signs:
A rapid change in the appearance of my left breast;
A warm bright red bruise;
Tenderness, pain and itching;
Absence of lumps.
Needless-to-say, I spent a sleepless night.
After an agonizing wait, I learned that my biopsy was negative. It was only a nasty infection. But I worry about other women who have no inkling that a lump is not the only sign of trouble. An odd looking dimpled nipple, red breast splotches, swelling on one side or an itch could be a deadly form of cancer. IBC is an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer that wont wait. If you have the symptoms I had, make an immediate appointment with the doctor. I hope it is just a rash, but, please, get it checked.
About the author: Mickey Goodman is an award-winning freelance writer and blogger.
Have you had a medical false alarm? Share your story below.